Khartoum (SMC) - The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in its bulletin complained of the inability
of its members and partners to obtain access to the Northern Sector SPLM control areas in Southern Kordofan region to provide humanitarian support and verify cases of the return of Sudanese refugees from South Sudan because of the outbreak of the conflict and food insecurity in the south.
According to FEWS NET, conflict and food insecurity in South Sudan are reportedly pushing Sudanese refugees to return to South Kordofan. FEWS NET reported in its latest food security outlook report that an estimated 14,400 Sudanese refugees returned from Yida refugee camp in South Sudan to South Kordofan during August 2016. This brings the number of recent returnees from South Sudan to South Kordofan to over 27,500 people.
The returns were reportedly mainly to Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM- N) controlled areas in western, central, and eastern parts of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, with some limited returns reported in government-controlled areas.
The main factors driving refugee returns are insecurity in South Sudan, lack of food, and an unwillingness to relocate to the new Pamir refugee site in Unity state, South Sudan. Most returnees and IDPs in SPLM- N-controlled areas who return to Sudan after the end of the rainy season would be unable to cultivate, FEWS NET said.
According to UNHCR in South Sudan, the number of registered Sudanese refugees in Unity State, including Yida, had decreased by about 15,000 people between 1 June and 31 October 2016. Population movements between SPLM-N areas in South Kordofan and Yida in South Sudan’s Unity State have been taking place since the start of the conflict between Sudanese security forces and SPLM- N in parts of South Kordofan in 2011. Movements between these areas depend largely on the intensity of fighting, seasonal factors and search for safety and humanitarian assistance.
The United Nations and its partners do not have crossline access to SPLM-N areas in South Kordofan and are therefore not able to verify these reported returns and humanitarian needs.